Five simple ways to create a more sustainable future

child in nature wearing a virtual reality headset

In recent years, we’ve seen a global rise in environmental concern. Heightened awareness of problems such as the climate change crisis, damage to the ozone layer, deforestation and loss of biodiversity has prompted a collective push for action.

Governments are working towards the sustainable development goals and, on an individual level, many of us are changing our own behaviour to reduce our environmental impact.

People of all ages are waking up to the fact that the future health of the planet lies in our hands. And, while the bigger picture can feel disheartening, a lot of what we do in our day-to-day lives has a direct impact on the world around us. For us to succeed in reducing our environmental impact, we all need to think about specific things we can do, both big and small, to contribute to a better and brighter tomorrow.

While systemic and societal change will deliver the greatest impact, we can all still play our part on an individual level. Here are five achievable things that we can all do to create a more sustainable future.

1. Buy from sustainable brands 

Many of us are already making a conscious effort to buy better in order to reduce our carbon footprint. This means choosing locally produced goods and supporting brands who are clear about their sustainability initiatives. Most of the time, when we think about shopping sustainably, we consider the impact of consumer goods first and foremost – tangible products we can see and hold such as groceries, clothing and furniture. We think about shopping for food without excess packaging, avoiding fast fashion and buying reclaimed, eco-friendly furniture items.

It’s just as important to bear sustainability in mind when buying intangible products – like insurance, savings and investments. Aviva is a great example of a company in this category that is leading the way on climate action. Aviva is committed to tackling climate change through a comprehensive action plan and a bold sustainability ambition – to become a Net Zero company by 2040. Aviva invites everyone to join it in backing clever ideas that move communities forward. Inspiring initiatives such as the Aviva Community Fund provide small charities and community causes with sustainable fundraising and resources to help build stronger, more resilient communities.

2. Support local sustainability charities and initiatives

In the wake of a pandemic, small charities and community interest groups focused on sustainability need support more than ever. When it comes to taking direct action to address environmental issues on your doorstep, one of the most impactful ways to make a difference is by supporting local sustainability charities and eco-friendly groups. You can do this by volunteering, sharing skills or donating if you’re in a position to do so.

For anyone looking to support charities that tackle environmental issues, you can discover sustainability initiatives happening in your area and beyond with the Aviva Community Fund. It backs a variety of great causes and vital services, including many that embrace innovation to create a brighter, more sustainable future. By housing information on lots of the initiatives in one place, Aviva makes it easy to identify a cause that resonates with you.

3. Use less energy in the home

Reducing how much energy you use in the home is something we can all do to be more sustainable. According to the latest figures from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 31% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity and heating 1, so making an effort to use less energy is one of the most effective ways to do your bit for the planet.

If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – being strategic with the way you manage your household energy doesn’t have to be time-consuming. In fact, in many instances, reducing your energy output comes with the added benefit of saving you money too, and is easy to monitor with a smart meter. Simple things you can do today to save energy include switching off unnecessary lights and unused electronics in your home, taking shorter showers, avoiding central heating unless essential, fixing problems such as leaking sinks, washing laundry on the eco-cycle and skipping the heat dry setting on your dishwasher. They might seem small, but over time they can make a big difference.

See more things you can do to make your home eco-friendly

4. Recycle more 

Today, we’re pretty well informed about greenhouse gases and their contribution to climate change. Many of us avoid creating waste where we can, but it’s not always easy. This is when reusing, recycling or upcycling becomes really important. Sending rubbish to landfill is bad for the environment, as landfills are one of the worst sources of toxins and greenhouse gas emissions.

At home and at work, you can do your bit for the planet by educating yourself about what items can and cannot be recycled. Check locally to know what’s accepted in your recycling and what day it’s picked up. Generally, items that should always be recycled include:

  • mixed paper
  • cardboard
  • aluminium cans 
  • glassware

If you’re feeling creative, you can even find new purposes for old items that can’t be recycled.

5. Part ways with single-use plastic

It’s important to minimise our use of single-use plastic (plastic that we use once and then throw away) because it can take hundreds or even thousands of years for certain plastics to break down in landfill. Examples of single-use plastic include food packaging, lightweight plastic bags, drinks containers and coffee cups, disposable utensils and wet wipes.

By minimising your use of these products whenever possible, you can help reduce and prevent long-lasting damage to the environment. Simple ways to tackle plastic waste include cooking from raw materials whenever possible, investing in reusable water bottles and coffee cups, and taking your own reusable bags when shopping. If you must use plastic bags, be sure to dispose of them using the special programmes run by the government and supermarkets to recycle this difficult material.

Ready to create a more sustainable future? It takes us all working together to create a better world.

So why not check out the Aviva Community Fund and take a look at the small sustainability charities and eco-friendly community interest groups that need your support?

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